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Title: Becoming a teacher in Ghana : a study of newly qualified teachers in Central Region, Ghana
Author: Hedges, John.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3551 9900
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 2002
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This thesis explores the expenences of a small group of newly qualified teachers (NQTs) during their initial teaching experience at postings in Central Region, Ghana. A qualitative approach was chosen as the most appropriate way to gain insights into their perceptions. A key hypothesis underlying the study was that the first posting is crucial in influencing NQTs' perceptions of the profession. The research questions were organised around the central issues of: experience of the posting process, experience of induction, reflections on training, and perceptions of teaching in the classroom and, more generally, their roles as teachers in their communities. The perceptions ofNQTs were contextualised by interviews with some untrained teachers, principals in the training colleges, heads in the schools, and members of the education bureaucracy at the national and district level. During the research, it became clear that the process of posting was an important factor in NQTs' initial experience and this became a separate research question and chapter in the thesis. The teachers' perceptions and experiences are considered within theoretical frameworks drawn from the literature on teacher socialisation; teachers' occupational culture; and teachers' conceptions of practice. In particular, it draws on and critiques aspects of an analysis of teachers' professional culture in Gambia and South Africa by Alan Penny and Tansy Jessop (1998) and Colin Lacey's (1977) work on NQTs in the UK. It also adapts an analysis of the metaphors that teachers used to explain their perceptions of their work in Trinidad and Tobago (George et al, 2001) to the Ghanaian context. A main finding is the mismatch between the training NQTs receive and their initial occupational culture they were becoming part of, and revealing the problems associated with posting urban educated Ghanaians to rural schools. It also became clear that, within the aspects of occupational culture revealed in this study, there were conflicts between the social and classroom roles of teaching and a preoccupation with status. These can be seen as symptoms of a deeper conflict between the espoused purposes of primary education and its day-to-day practices, revealed in the metaphors teachers used to make sense of their work and roles. Key metaphors, which also emerged from interviews with heads, included: teacher as carer, teacher as role model, teaching as self sacrifice, and teaching as modernising mission. In summary, therefore, the thesis argues that NQTs enter an occupational culture that is riven by contradictions and conflicting expectations. This is exacerbated by the facts that: the link between teacher education and school contexts is limited; many NQTs are from urban backgrounds, posted to rural areas; their experience of the posting system and the education bureaucracy is often negative; they experience ambivalence from the community they are working in and many feel the curriculum is inappropriate. In this context, NQTs express their perspectives on teaching in terms of a number of metaphors, which are a mix of the idealistic, the pragmatic, and the practical. Heads can help mediate NQTs' experiences through induction, where there is particular emphasis on the social roles of teaching. In turn, these metaphors tended to be dominant in NQTs' perspectives on themselves and their work. Thus, this thesis argues that there is a need for more attention to be placed on teachers' social roles in training and induction and their link to actual school and classroom contexts and practices. It is hoped that this could lead to the development of more flexible teachers, who are better able to deal with the realities of teaching, particularly in rural areas. teaching experience. The process of posting gives them key signals about the
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Training